I will admit it – when I first heard they were making another Dungeons & Dragons movie, I almost immediately wrote it off. I have many friends who play and love Dungeons & Dragons but I have always thought of it as “not for me.” While that may be true, I was pleasantly surprised that the movie is a great time for anyone!
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a classic hero’s journey of a movie. Which makes complete sense when you think about it. At the start, we are introduced to Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), who act as our entry into this world. They are (hilariously) escaping captivity and are on a mission to find an ancient relic to turn back time. In order to do so, they put together a merry band of misfits, including Xenk (Regé-Jean Page), Simon (Justice Smith), and Doric (Sophia Lillis). I won’t go into specifics of the plot, as it is basically as described above: a hero’s journey. You have seen it many times before and that’s because it works.
Funnier Than Expected
What immediately set Dungeons & Dragons apart from the previous iterations is the people involved. Chris Pine is incredibly charming as Edgin, but he also showcases a genuinely funny side that he has not had a lot of opportunity to show off in the past. The villain of the story, Hugh Grant, is chewing up all the scenery and leaving no crumbs. He is having a deliciously wicked time playing Forge, who will make sure that Edgin and his crew fail at their mission.
Beyond the cast, the writers and directors should have been a dead giveaway that this movie has more than meets the eye. John Francis Daly and Jonathan Goldstein wrote and directed Dungeons & Dragons. The duo has brought us movies like Horrible Bosses, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Game Night in the past. They have a real knack for balancing comedy with story. They prove that yet again here. From its opening scene, Dungeons & Dragons makes clear it is not meant to be taken seriously. It is very much a fantasy comedy and should be seen as such. The jokes do not always land but they do a surprising amount of the time. Beyond the comedy, Daly and Goldstein are also good at filming action.
Practicality Makes a Difference
One of the most fascinating parts of Dungeons & Dragons is the amount of practical sets, effects, and action are on display. The duo clearly wanted to do as much in-camera as possible and it shows. We can talk about CGI vs Practical all day, but the fact of the matter is that practical effects make everything feel more real. In a fantasy movie, that is especially important.
Overall, Dungeons & Dragons is a genuinely funny, enjoyable fantasy. The cast and crew clearly love the story and it shows onscreen. The ensemble shares a real sense of chemistry, which makes you fall in love with their team just as they fall in love with one another. I was skeptical at first, but Dungeons & Dragons won me over.